The 2River View 18.1 (Fall 2013)

Rebecca D'Alise

Your Patient

She plays you like a telephone,
the green-hued touch pad
biting the night into shrapnel
with its mechanical F sharp.

She can’t help it. Even during sex,
bent and curled over me like a fist
as your thighs try and fail
to hold in the briny flow of our familiar

rhythms, even then she is there, waiting
like a question to be wrapped
and tied with rough twine, waiting
like a heated metal key pressed to the underside
of your forearms. She has tongued her way down

to where I have set my anchor firm
to where I have lain my hand against the agate
of your heart and have woven a nation. She has come
with a bridle bit, which she sets against her own teeth,

and dares you to grip the leather reigns. Later she comes
into the hours of us, when you are almost glass,
but still enough mud that she can undo shape,
and I now think, not even the rain
not even the rain.

When We End Our Lives

Perhaps it happens in myth
even before Lucretia’s hand leads her body off
in surrender to Sextus, where the point of the knife dimples her
throat and the sound waves quiver the blade just enough
that something in his hand feels slighted.

But maybe it’s different than that—
maybe it first happens in the timbers of a voice splitting
and falling, in the act of gathering back our spilled bones
to reassemble them in the toothpick boxes we’re all given

in our earlier lives, the dimensions too small to hold them all.
After that, the last lungful is really nothing at all—
just note cards and lilac and birds.

Rebecca D'Alise holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Her poems have been published in The Bellingham Review, Cerebral Scraps, Ex Libris, Stuff Magazine, and elsewhere. contact

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